From then to now?
Many many years ago when the yuppie hoard roamed the western world there came a really useful form of communications in the form of a portable phone. Portable was the description but it was more akin to ‘luggable’ and came in the form of a small suitcase or brief case connected to a car battery or similar. At the time they were the rich business man’s toy and remained so for some time with the key advantage being that you could tell your wife that you were on the way home and to put the dinner on! How things have changed over the last 25 years!
Analogue technology was very quickly replaced by Digital at the beginning of the 90’s and GSM was born. This was a natural evolution from a specification that was developed in the Nordic countries called NMT (Nordic Mobile Telecommunications). It was such a good fit that it became the major template for the new standard although the operating frequencies necessarily had to change. Operating frequencies and their availability remains a major theme of all development discussion in this space to this day and is likely to always remain so. Incidentally, this left two major telecoms vendors in a remarkably good position to supply the world with mobile terminals and Nokia and Ericsson started to clean up with one company becoming almost preeminent for the whole of the 90’s and even into the 00’s. But, as Nokia now know, nothing can ever be taken for granted.
What grew up behind this development was a battle between Europe /Asia and the USA and Japan. The major market developed in Europe and Asia and the USA lagged behind. Japan managed to maintain a considerable growth and innovation with their standards approach but it had little to do with the rest of the world and just made it a difficult market to enter for western suppliers. This is a whole historical piece on its own but is really just an interesting subject conversation and considered opinions as to how this period became so complicated.
Things are much clearer now however, or are they? Now we are heading through the 3G period, with 2G almost forgotten, (although used by us all on a daily basis) and with many improvements being layered on top of the old standard. Now we see HSPA in its two main varieties HSDPA and HSUPA, the D and the U in both cases standing for Download and Upload. These services provide High Speed access to mobile at and around fixed broadband speeds where network is available.
We are now moving slowly towards 4G and LTE services and these are expected in the UK in 2013 if all goes to plan. Briefly, LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is a subset of the overall 4G standard. As usual, there are standards, and there are standards; which leaves some confusion. The major hardware vendors are all rushing to get their interpretation of the ‘standard’ out there and working to prove a point and accelerate growth. Certain parts of Scandinavia, USA and Arabia are already starting to offer trial services although the terminals are not in the mass market yet. The consideration of these standards and services requires considerable explanation but for now, let’s have a look at the quantum jump in speeds we can expect in the future if all works out perfectly – which it won’t!
Data speeds – LTE Advanced
|Peak Download||1 Gbit/s|
|Peak Upload||500 Mbit/s|
Data speeds – LTE
|Peak Download||100 Mbit/s|
|Peak Upload||50 Mbit/s|